Survey Shows Physicians Limiting Practice Access for Medicare and Medicaid Patients

More than 50 percent of physicians have limited access to their practice for Medicare patients or are planning to do so in the future according to a recent survey commissioned by the Physicians Foundation. In addition, 26 percent of survey respondents have stopped seeing additional Medicaid patients at this time. Physicians cite rising operating costs, time constraints, and diminishing reimbursement as the primary reasons for not accepting additional Medicare and Medicaid patients.

The survey also indicates that physician morale is low with more than 75 percent of respondents being pessimistic about the future of the medical profession. Physicians are not uniform in their opinions, with younger, female, employed, and primary care physicians being generally more positive about the profession.

The survey, conducted this spring by Merritt Hawkins via email, was sent to more than 600,000 physicians across the United States with 13,575 responding.

Insurance Companies and Employers Provide New Summary of Benefits and Coverage

To comply with requirements found in the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies and employers are now providing consumers in the private health insurance market with a brief summary of insurance policy or employer plan coverage, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Called the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC), the document includes information about covered health benefits, out-of-pocket costs, and the provider network. The SBC also includes a comparison tool, which is modeled on the Nutrition Facts label required for packaged food. This tool helps consumers compare coverage options by showing a standardized sample of what a health plan will cover for two common medical situations—having a baby and managing type 2 diabetes.

In addition to the SBC, consumers will have access to a uniform glossary that defines insurance and medical terms using common language.